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What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

18 REPLIES 18
Vi1
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Dear Annie
I totally agree with you. We have to live with our decisions made at the time. I don't regret my reconstruction but if Icould turn the clock back I would not have opted to the nipple reconstruction as I had more problems following that than my mastectomy and breast reconstruction, The nipple was taken as a graft from my other breast which post op took ages to heal. I agree the nipple free look would have been better and like I put in my last post stick on nipples are a great option and I agree with you in that a great bra boosts the confidence.
Viv

Annie22
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

interesting to know about the new nipple Vi, thanks for passing this on. I am more and more of the opinion that no nipple might be better for me (after all, I doubt that I'll be doing any page 3 pin up shots!) and now that I've found T-shirt bras I can wear (no underwiring) I feel it doesn't matter whether I have one or two. Now that I am 3 years on, I do think that we are all rather rushed into decisions. The decision I made in the heat of the moment about reconstruction etc, might not be the one I would make having understood that living was more likely that dying. At the time, it all seemed like time was of the essence - partly because cancer is scary and partly because I think that once we are making decisions, it feels like we are taking control. My surgeon didn't push me - it was me pushing myself to get on with it. I remember feeling that every minute was interminable and each minute without a decision was my life ebbing away. Thinking of all the months and months of treatment seemed horrific, but looking back it doesn't seem like much to save a life.
With hindsight, I think I should have had a mx, then waited to 'live' with myself a bit before deciding on which reconstruction. Sorry - bit of a diversion from the subject, except to say that a great bra can help in confidence whether we're breast, nipple free or have taken the full-on nipple, tuck and implants.
Annie

Vi1
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Dear Annie
Re the nipple free look.
I had nipple reconstruction last year, unoirtunately it was not as successful as expected. The nipple shrunk. I have found that the stick on nipples are quite good especially when wearing t,shirts.
I am quite big busted at 38F but since found more flatteing good fitting bras i am not prepared to have any more surgery. I am now 3 years free of cancer and feeling good in myself. I did not have my breast recomstruction from the back like yourself, I had a Diep flap so got the benefit of a flatter stomach.

Viv

Guest user
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Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Hi filosofie, and all the other ladies for all your advice and words of encouragement. Seeing the plastic surgeon next week and I'll certainly be having a little moan to him about the physio lady. Fingers crossed he will offer some support. He's been so good up until now. Good luck to you all. Kathy xx
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Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Hi filosofie, and all the other ladies for all your advice and words of encouragement. Seeing the plastic surgeon next week and I'll certainly be having a little moan to him about the physio lady. Fingers crossed he will offer some support. He's been so good up until now. Good luck to you all. Kathy xx
filosofie
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Hi Kathy
I haven't had my LD reconstruction yet but I have been given all the information about what will happen afterwards. This includes significant levels of physiotherapy with sports massage as necessary ( you have after all lost a significant amount of muscle from your back). You should try to see another physio and someone with experience of treating people in your position. I'm quite shocked at the poor quality of physio support you have received.
Good luck

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Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Thank you Annie22 for your encouragement. Have got to see the plastic surgeon next week, so will relay my disappointment regarding physio. I must continue to be positive as so far all has gone well and free of that dreadful C word and having no treatment at all after the dreadful ordeal was a masstive bonus. Than you for taking the time and trouble of replying to my post. Any word of advice really does help. Best wishes Kathy xx
Annie22
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Kathy,
We've all got so many varying degrees of good and bad haven't we? I've had discomfort, but then my reconstruction doesn't look too bad and the chemo shrunk my tumour to nothing - so I don't feel that I've been too unlucky - I think I've also got used to the 'nipple free' look! The op on my back was about an hour and a half and recovery was almost instant. I felt so much more comfortable as my back had 'bunched up' such that you could see a lump under my shoulder and I couldn't wear shirts as they didn't sit straight.
My back does sometimes feel like it goes into a spasm - but I do think that's probably normal. The numbness and 'block' feel is down to the nerve damage and that takes years to get over this (if ever).
If your exercises haven't really helped, are they the right ones? Maybe a second opinion from another physio might help. It is so difficult to 'get' the right stretch and really pull where it's tight (if you haven't already done so, ask someone to show you an exercise to mobilise your shoulder blades)
Hope you find a solution.
Annie

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Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Hello Annie22, thank you so much for relaying your info on tightness. My goodness 3 years, really does sound a heck of a long while. I have done the exercises religiously three times a day as advised sincee last August. Unfortunately, I had a phone call today to say my surgeon will be operating on Tuesday when I was due to see him, so will have to wait another ten days to see him. I'm 66 and feel I really can't be bothered with the nipple tattoo. It sounds like you have been a lot worse than I have been. Fortunately my breathing seems ok. Was the operation on your back a long recovery and how long after the operation did you feel any improvement? Are you having physio every week. I live in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire and the hospital care I've received has been absolutely brilliant, but as you say I must persist and take action. Sorry for all these questions, but it's such a comfort to hear from somebody whose been through the same problem and that it's not all in my mind. Kathy x
Annie22
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Don't get me started on tightness with LDFlap.....I am 3 years on and at last am feeling a bit more comfortable. I was not able to expand my lung on the side of the op, but I felt I needed to just put up with it as it is so difficult to know what it is right and what isn't (I'm alive, after all!) I used to be a runner, but just couldn't do it like I used to - I thought it was because I just wasn't fit. It was that, but it was also that I couldn't breath properly. Anyway, at a routine check with my onc, she was concerned about the way I was standing and could hear my breathing wasn't right, so sent me back to the surgeon. He said that the op had been too tight and my skin had stuck to my back, so 3 years on I had another op to unstick my back. Since then (August last year) I have been to a physio (expensive, but they've given me my health back). I could afford 3 sessions, but have been religious about doing the exercises every day just before bed, these include deep breathing to unknit all the scar tissue and stretching. I get backache if I walk in heels for too long, but it is all getting better. There is a deep massage that breaks down scar tissue and I'd like to be able to try that - but my back does feel like I have a slab of wood under my shoulder blade
I can't face having a nipple done until I'm more comfortable
Sorry not to be more upbeat, but the message is that you have to take action...the poor old NHS just doesn't have enough physio in our area to go round - so I had to find a way to pay for it. But, I wish I had made a fuss earlier.
Annie

Guest user
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Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Thank you ladies for all your prompt replies. It's so reassuring to know that you're not going through this alone. Thanks for all the information on the bras .... extremely helpfull. Also it was interesting to read of physio being used whilst in recovery. I shall be seeing the plastic surgeon on Tuesday, so it will be interesting to hear what he says about the response I got from the physiotherapy nurse. Best wishes Kathy xx
Vi1
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Hi Kathy
I had a DIEP flap- my reconstruction was taken from abdomen, It was 3 years ago and occassionally still get some tightness in abdomen. Physio was great with the exercises to do too help so i think you need to see a different physio. i was having physio while I was still in ITU after my op so there cannot be any problem with it affecting the cancer. I can also recommend accupuncture and reflexology they both help with relaxation as well as helping improve self esteem.
Vi x

Guest user
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Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Hi Kathy, just posted but since read about your physio.. Doesn't sound like a very good one to me!!! I found swimming to be excellent for the tightness. When I first started swimming again I was really tight but it soon became a lot easier. I also used bio oil on my scars which is very good at keeping the skin flexible.
regards
Beryl
Guest user
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Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Hi Kathy, I've had reconstruction surgery and buy all my bras from AMOENA. www.amoena.co.uk. Ive bought them fom AMOENA since I had my mastectomies when I used prosthesis aswell and found they hold the prosthesis very well.They are quite expensive but a superb fit especially if like me your scars are quite high. I also buy my swimwear from them aswell. I am in a health scheme and can claim 75% of the cost back under the surgical appliance allowance. This is great because it makes them really great value. My health scheme is a local one but I'm sure there are others that cover the same. Alot of people are not aware that mastectomy bras and mastectomy swimwear are classed as surgical appliances.. I also find the vests with the built in bras very comfortable but I can't claim for those because they are a vest not actually a bra.

Regards
Beryl
Guest user
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Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Hi ya, a big thank you to Annie22, Ali H and Vi for the valued info on comfortable bras... will follow all up. Have any of you laidies had any problem with tightness in the back if you've had the LD flap mx and reconstruction. I went to hosp yesterday, but came away quite down. The physio lady seemed quite nervous of examining me. She asked for all my history, which I gave. After 10 minutes examination she said your back muscle is like a brick! I said i know, that's why I'm here hoping that you can help me. She said ...Most physio staff don't like working on patients with your history just incase they disturb the cancer. I said I don't have cancer anymore, that's why I had the op! I just could believe what she was saying. I came out and just felt so low afterwards. Back to the hosp next week to see plastic surgeon and will relay all she said. Sorry for going on so, but has anybody had physio treatment for the tighness. Just want reassurance that I'll feel normal again one day. Thanks again for replying. Big hugs to all Kathy xx
Vi1
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Hi
I had reconstructive surgery nearly 3 years ago, like you I found it hard to find nice flattering bras.
I have just bought some really nice bras from Debenhams. They have pockets for prosthesis but this didn't deter me.
They are also very reasonably priced compared to other mastectomy bra outlets I have used, this is because they are priced before VAT added.
They are available online and delivered free.
They are worth viewing.

Ali_H
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

I've found some lovely non-underwired bras online. I'm not a big cup size (34c) so I've got a lace cup bra which is very nice, made by Wacoal. Also a soft cup bra by Simone Perele from the caressence range. I was surprised to find so many choices actually, I'd got a support non-wired bra from our beloved high street retailer of knickers but online lots of bra companies did one. I picked a selection from figleaves and kept my two favourites but ordered about 8 to try, there are several online lingerie suppliers with big ranges and some high street lingerie shops might have them too , although the ones I tried just had proper mx bras with pockets and I wanted an alternative (because of the small cup thing I felt a bit swamped, although they were very soft and comfy)
Annie22
Member

Re: What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Have a look at the Royce-lingerie.co.uk. Their Caress range are soft t-shirt type bras that look like they're underwired, but don't have wire in them. I have a reconstruction but always wore underwired t-shirt bras - so when I found one of these in John Lewis I was thrilled. They have pockets for prosthesis, but if you don't need it (like both of us) it doesn't get in the way it just makes it even softer. The great thing is that if you've had a mx, you get the VAT back too.
Annie

Guest user
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What bra to wear 6 mths after mastectomy reconstruction?

Fortunately the mx and reconstruction is all in the past some 5-6 months ago. I have from day one been wearing sports bras 24/7. I feel the support helps tremendously, but occasionally would like to wear a bra that was just a little bit more femanine. Is there anybody out there that has been in the same situation and could advise of any bra they wear just on special occasions? Thank you for taking the time to read this. Kathy xx